“We predict a major day of struggle, with strikes and street protests” – CGTP
Schools, hospitals, transports and town halls will be affected today by various forms of strike action and protest called to mark the ‘National Day of Indignation, Protest and Struggle’, called by CGTP, the Portuguese confederation of trades unions.
Said the union’s secretary-general Isabel Caminha: “We predict a major day of struggle, with strikes and a vast number of street protests. Workers in all sectors demand an increase in salaries as an essential condition to putting the brakes on degrading conditions of life.”
Thus schools – which have been embroiled in protests for the best part of two months – are once again affected, if only partially. In some areas, they have no classes, in others they offer only some classes, in a few places they may well be running as normal. These days parents and pupils literally ‘don’t know’ until the moment comes, and even then there is confusion and frustration. Today’s ‘strikes’ are being waged solely by non-teaching staff, members of the national federation of public sector and social workers, which is affiliated to CGTP.
Elsewhere, trains are on strike – drivers have actually called a strike until February 21 – and there are various forms of industrial action in the private sector, especially within the electrical, chemico-metallurgic, food, ceramics and cork businesses.
Said Caminha, whose confederation demands a minimum national wage of €850 per month, and a €100 increase across the board for all public sector workers: “The cost of living is increasing because people are taking advantage (of the crisis). We need price controls, an end of speculation and measures to help people with the increased cost of mortgages”.
According to Lusa news agency, principal protests today will be in Lisbon, Porto, Aveiro, Beja, Braga, Castelo Branco, Coimbra, Évora, Guarda, Leiria, Setúbal, Santarém, Portalegre, Viseu, Vila Real and Funchal (Madeira).